Sam Taylor’s novel is reviewed at The Buddha Smiled, and reading the review reminded me that I have to get a copy of the book:
Ankle healed, relationship with Dutch girlfriend Ingrid terminated, James returns to H. (why can’t we call it Hull and be done with?) to try to find out more about his past, and to (both figuratively and literally) find a key to unlock his past – because of all the diaries he’s ever kept throughout his life, the ones pertaining to the three years he cannot remember are in a locked black box, and he cannot find (or even remember) where the key is. From here on the novel begins its tortured tour through the past of a life that is at once fascinating and also equally dull and pointless. For Purdew’s life is very bourgeois, with all the trappings of a traditional English childhood in the seventies and eighties – the bad hairstyles, the quaint television shows on the BBC, the agony and the ecstasy of first love, sex and death. Add to this mix an ongoing renovation project that Purdew takes on (how could a novel so thoroughly English leave out the persistent English obsession with home equity?) and you have a classically English novel for our times. Through all these events, clues towards unlocking the past slowly accumulate; references (almost tongue in cheek) zip past as we hurtle along the narrative as the author throws in clues to the denouement.
You can read the first chapter for free on Sam Taylor’s blog.